Cooking souvlakia, playing guitar and practicing mindfulness… How to creatively take advantage of the time at home (Covid-19)

Staying at home and taking some time-off is the best present that anyone could ask for.  It was one of the things that I wanted most when I was a young child just to avoid going to school. Excuses were many… This time though you have a real excuse, with the added responsibility to your fellow citizens to limit venturing outside and staying at home.

Some people will think that they will get bored at home, or that they will lose motivation to do things. I see this time as an opportunity to spend time with yourself and dedicate yourself to things that were perhaps ignored in the past.

Below are some tips of what to do at home based on my own personal preferences:

Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness will provide you with some powerful tools which you can incorporate into your daily life, as I do, and can help you break the cycle of stress, anxiety, mental exhaustion and sadness. It truly provides you with a different perspective to the world.

If you would like to start from somewhere, I would highly recommend Mark Williams and Danny Penman Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world. This is the book used by the University of Edinburgh’s Mindfulness and Compassion course; open to students to help cope with stress. With engaging dialogues, examples and practices, the book itself can be taken as an 8 week course and is a great way to get started!

Playing guitar

For me playing the guitar and singing has always been my passion. It’s very creative, relaxing, and takes your mind away from the demands of life.  Here is a song that you can start with. * See the References for a more detailed guide for how to play the chords.* 

Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day


Em        G              D              A             Em

I walk a lonely road, the only one that I have ever known

            G             D                A               Em

Don’t know where it goes, but it’s home to me and I walk alone


Em  G  D  A

[Verse 2]

Em          G             D           A               Em

I walk this empty street, on the boulevard of broken dreams

           G               D              A              Em

Where the city sleeps, and I’m the only one and I walk alone


Em  G  D            A           Em

            I walk alone, I walk alone.

Em  G  D            A

            I walk alone, I walk a….


C       G            D              Em

    My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me

C        G       D               Em

    My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating

C        G       D                 Em

    Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me

C         G      B7

    Till then I walk alone

Source: Boulevard of Broken Dreams chords from Ultimate Guitar


For me it’s the most relaxing thing in the world to take my mind off things! I am Greek and in Greece we love cooking (and eating). What’s better than to try new recipes?! Take your time to explore your senses and also become mindful with your ingredients as well as the way you are eating.

Here is a classic Greek recipe to start with:

Pork belly souvlakia

For the pork belly

  • 1 kilo pork belly, boneless
  • 2 tablespoon(s) vinegar, of white wine
  • 2-3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 teaspoon(s) oregano
  • 2 tablespoon(s) paprika, smoked

For the pita breads

  • 300 g strained yogurt
  • 300 g self-rising flour
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) oregano
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil

To assemble


For the pork belly

  • Cut the pork belly into 0,5 cm small cubes.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the vinegar. Mix well and add the olive oil, salt, pepper, the oregano, and the paprika.
  • Mix well and set aside until marinated.
  • Place a frying pan over high heat until it gets very hot.
  • Add half of the pork belly and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it is golden brown and crispy. Ideally, do not mix a lot during cooking, so that the pork belly is properly cooked and not boiled.
  • Deglaze the pan with 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and mix. Remove and set aside.
  • Follow the same process for the second batch of the pork belly.

For the pita breads

  • In a bowl add the yogurt, the flour, salt, the oregano, and mix until there is a dough. Ideally, wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces and roll them out into a 10 cm pita, using a rolling pin.
  • Place a frying pan over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Put one of the pita breads in it and cook for 2 minutes on both sides, until it is cooked through and golden.
  • Follow the same process for all the pita breads.

To assemble

  • Cut the tomato and the onion into thin slices.
  • Finely chop the parsley.
  • Take one pita bread and spread with 1 tablespoon tzatziki sauce. Add some pork belly, tomato slices, onion, parsley, and French fries.
  • Wrap and serve.

Source: Pork belly souvlakia recipe by Akis Petretzikis

You can find many other things to do. This is my suggestion to start with something!

Good luck and try to stay at home!!